The Washington Post

A small step toward taller D.C. buildings


D.C. needs to find a place for substantial new housing and jobs in the future, and federal planners now seem to acknowledge that fact. They’re willing to create a process, though an exhaustively long one, by which some future growth could exceed the federal height limit.

It’s a tiny step forward for the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), a very cautious federal agency, but its a significant one. The blanket height limit made it impossible to even consider creating a skyscraper neighborhood somewhere in the city, perhaps at a place like Poplar Point, or even having an occasional, iconic tower amid lower buildings.

Last night, NCPC staff published an updated recommendation for changing the federal height limit. They’ve decided to insist on absolutely no change in the original L’Enfant City (basically everything between Florida Avenue and the rivers), but are willing to open a gate to a very long road for taller buildings elsewhere.

To recap, the federal law, which only Congress can change, limits heights of buildings in D.C. to the width of the adjacent street plus 20 feet, up to a maximum of 90 to 130 feet, depending on the area. Outside downtown and downtown-ish areas like NoMA and the ballpark, local zoning restricts buildings far more, however.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.



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Norman Leahy · November 19, 2013

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